How many girls do you know got married just to move out of their parents’ house? How many girls do you know are staying in a miserable marriage just because they don’t have another place to go or another source of income? How many girls do you know wish they were doing something different with their lives? How many girls do you know are belittled by their boyfriends, husbands, or male family members in front of other people and are living with that because they don’t have any other option? Now, ask yourself, how many men do you know are in the same situations above? See, that is why we need more series like Leh La’a? (Why Not?)
Let me start by saying that I am so proud of everyone who took part in making this show. We desperately need such content. I understand that the show comes as a shock to the system, but again we need this. In the series everyone is so angry at Amina Khalil’s character Alyaa, as she decides to leave her groom at the altar, which is a bit dramatic. They are cutting her off because she moves out, which is again a very bold move. But that is what you need to inspire. Even Alyaa herself is shocked at her own audacity, most of the time she has that shocked look on her face, and I get it. It is terrifying to move out of the comfort zone and leave everything you know and are used to. But sometime that is what you need to do to find yourself. The show is not asking all girls to move out of their family houses and start from scratch. It is merely asking them to take a moment and think about who they really are and what they really want to do in life. You only live once, so actually LIVE. It is not asking every girl to become a strong independent woman, it is merely raising the simple question of “are you happy with your life the way it is?”
The show is giving voice to female characters that are rarely heard, or that are usually seen as one dimensional. The variety of female personalities in the show is brilliant. You have the newly independent, Alyaa. But then you have her sister, Nardine Farrag who is just happy with her life. She is not confrontational, when she needs to smoke she just hides and does so. She is happy with her life as is and happy doing everything at her home and to a husband who wouldn’t even move off the couch to get a tissue for himself. You have Farah, Alyaa’s friend who is all for crossing boundaries and going after what she wants. You have the mother, Hala Sedky, who loves her kids too much, but in her own way. Just like her mother did with her. She seems tough and cold but it is all actually coming from love. She is just too worried about her daughter facing something that is so new and unknown and maybe even unimaginable to her.
And just kudos the Shereen Reda for her portrayal of her character. The casting of Shereen Reda in the role of 45 year-old woman who never got married is epic. Usually unmarried older women of that age are portrayed on TV as not that pretty, or girls who have deep issues. But she is just a girl who hasn’t found love. That’s it. Reda’s portrayal of the character is amazing as she reacts to the nice gestures from the guy she likes. She is acting like a 20 year-old girl who is in love for the first time. And this is exactly the case, she is just a girl who is in love for the first time. She only happens to fall in love when she’s in her 40s. Society always grills those who are unmarried by their mid-thirties and it is so unfair because it is really out of their hands.
How many girls do you know who are like the character of Mariam El Khosht? Radwa, Mariam’s character in the show is like a lot of girls I personally know. Up until the sixth episode of the show she is being the exact opposite of Amina Khalil’s character. She doesn’t say no. She is doing everything she is being told to do, even when she is not being asked not so nicely to do it. The entire time I was watching her in the last episode I was thinking “Why? Why are you okay with this?” But if she is okay with it, then you know what? That’s fine too. It is all about making a choice, one that you are happy with and going with it. If I am to judge by only sixth episode, I would say I wish her character wasn’t veiled, as veiled women are stereotyped enough as it is. But I am hoping the rest of the show will tell us more about that.
Everything about this show is a celebration of women; their choices, their dreams, their mistakes. From the brilliant theme song by Amal Maher, to the great scenario by the very talented Mariam Naoum and the mastery of director Mariam Abu Ouf. We need this. And we need more shows like this. I could still write a lot more about the male characters in the show. But I choose not to. Because the way I see this show, it is a celebration of women’s empowerment and for now, I would like to focus on that.
Written by: Omnia Zaied